Learn how to cut Swiss chard, including tips for cleaning, storing, and cooking this leafy green vegetable, with my step-by-step photos and short video. Once you know how to slice the leaves and stems, you’ll love adding chard to recipes!
Swiss chard is a bitter and very earthy, leafy green vegetable that’s not typically a favorite, crowd-pleasing food. However, it can really shine in recipes when prepared in the right way!
Plus, it’s absolutely beautiful, especially rainbow and red chard. In case you’re wondering, these varieties are the same as Swiss chard but just have different colored stems. They can all be used interchangeably.
This post provides a step-by-step tutorial on how to cut Swiss chard — both the leaves and stems. Yes, you can eat chard stems. I also included lots of delicious recipe ideas.
How to Stem Chard
When working with Swiss chard, you should cut the stems and leaves separately. The first step is therefore removing the stems by cutting the chard crosswise at the intersection of the leaves and stems.
How to Cut Chard Leaves
Next, stack the leaves on top of each other.
Then, cut the leaves lengthwise into strips about ½- to 1-inch wide.
Cut the strips of leaves crosswise into pieces of your desired size.
How to Cut Chard Stems
To cut chard stems, simply slice them crosswise into pieces of your desired size. I like to cut them into pieces that are about ½-inch wide.
How to Clean Swiss Chard
You can clean Swiss chard before or after you cut it, but it’s often easier to clean pieces of chard than full leaves. Place the chard in a colander in the sink and rinse it with cold running water to remove any dirt. If there is stubborn dirt on the stems or leaves, rub the area with your fingers to remove it.
After cleaning, pat the chard dry. If you have a salad spinner, use that to dry the chard. That’s an optional step but it’s very effective.
If you’re wondering how to keep Swiss chard fresh, here are a couple best practices. Avoid washing Swiss chard until right before you need to use it, since excess moisture can cause it to go bad more quickly.
You can store unwashed, whole chard leaves or cut chard in the refrigerator. Place it in between paper towels or a clean dish towel. Then, put it in a plastic bag and seal tightly, removing as much air as possible. I like to use a straw to suck out air when I seal the bag. Keep Swiss chard in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to 7 to 10 days. For information about freezing chard, see my tutorial.
Swiss Chard Recipes
Now that you know how to cut Swiss chard, let’s talk about cooking it! Both the leaves and stems of chard taste delicious in recipes. Recipes using raw Swiss chard tend to call for the leaves only. If you are wondering what to do with chard stems you have leftover from making my Maple Swiss Chard Salad or Tropical Swiss Chard Smoothie, for example, check out my Swiss Chard Stem and Beet Tahini Dip. You can also sauté them with olive oil and garlic for a tasty side dish.
Cooked recipes with chard usually call for both the leaves and stems. Keep in mind that the stems take slightly longer to cook than the leaves, so you may have to add them to the dish earlier than the leaves. Some of my favorite recipes with cooked chard include Steamed Swiss Chard, Swiss Chard Potatoes, and the Baked Eggs with Swiss Chard. You can also add chard to soups.
I’d love to hear how you like this recipe! Rate/review using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments, and follow the Veg World on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Looking for something totally different? Browse the recipe library.
How to Cut Swiss Chard
- 1 bunch Swiss chard - or rainbow or red chard
- Start by slicing off the stems by cutting the chard crosswise at the intersection of the leaves and stems.
- Stack the chard leaves on top of each other. Then, slice them lengthwise into strips about 1-inch wide.
- Cut the strips crosswise into pieces of your desired size.
- Finally, cut the stems crosswise into pieces of your desired size.
- If you are using the chard right away, place it in a colander and rinse with cold water to clean. Pat dry after cleaning.
- If you want to store the cut chard before using it, don't wash it. Instead, place it between paper towels (or a clean dish towel). Put it in a plastic bag or a reusable silicone bag. Seal tightly. Store in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to 7 to 10 days. Wash before using.
- 1 bunch of chard yields about 4 to 6 cups of loosely packed leaves and 1 cup of sliced stems, depending on the size of the bunch and leaves
- Chard leaves can be eaten raw in salads or smoothies. Stems are typically included in cooked dishes.
- Cooked chard leaves and steams can be served as a side dish or added to soups and egg bakes.
Enjoy this delicious vegetable! – Lizzie
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